What follows is a set of general activities attached to the roles of campus coordinators, Learning Center coordinators on-campus, and Learning Center coordinators of centers off-campus, those at public high schools, public libraries, vocational education sites, county extension agencies, or private sites. What follows are the expectations all coordinators have of these positions as they communicate with one another.

In clarification, this document can not prescribe how individual institutions may fill these duties. A consortial guide can only suggest how these roles are perceived now that the Indiana College Network has been in operation for several years, and as we look ahead to growth and change.

It is understood that on-campus coordinators generally have many other duties, and may be responsible for not only the ICN contacts but also the continuing education and distance courses for the institution where they work. However, one basic role is expected of all coordinators, one-stop service.

One-stop service: The roles reflect the goal of all ICN student transactions
Convenience and accessibility are key to the students satisfaction with distance education classes and programs. This requires that all coordinators have answers at their fingertips or know where to look. The coordinator stays on the line with the student until a live person with an answer handles his questions. The coordinator makes sure the student has her name and phone number before leaving the line, and knows to call back if he feels stranded. The coordinator just might ask for the students name and number and call later in the day to see what happened. The students initial call is in lieu of an on-campus visit, so the coordinator can be a friendly open door for her institution or Learning Center. It can make the difference in an additional enrollment and may be the turning point in an adults life!

Evolving roles: Campus coordinators and on-campus and off-campus learning center coordinators
In early practice (1992-94), each ICN student support role was to be handled by different individuals appointed to each position, with the few Learning Center coordinators duties off-campus vaguely described.

As the Indiana College Network activity began to grow, cautiously at first though, with students scattered sparsely among the system, the on-campus roles of campus coordinator and learning center coordinator merged in many cases into one position, that of simply coordinator. As student interest and enrollments began to pick up speed, however, the second position of Learning Center coordinator became a backup when there were enough activity for two persons, one the campus coordinator with the other the Learning Center coordinator.

Because the campus coordinator was familiar with enrollment services and student-support offices, many became support resources for faculty developing new classes and degrees. They ran interference with faculty, bookstores, admissions, the registrar, financial assistance, and the bursar. They made sure that students taking classes from two or more institutions were properly registered at multiple schools.

The on-campus Learning Center coordinator was responsible for the arrangements for students to take classes at the center and have access to viewing equipment, computers, and the technology necessary to create and return assignments.

The off-campus Learning Centers took on the additional assignment of marketing and audience development for the center. The audience development became a major focus when the longevity and vitality of a program in a rural area depended on the number of students that could be attracted to that center.

 At the crossroads: Outlining the components of responsibilities
These descriptions are general but reflect what many Campus coordinators handle, in addition to other duties. coordinators have traditionally been part-time roles along with many other duties, but this will probably soon change to full-time positions with the growth of many programs across the state.

The campus coordinator will:

  • Establish contacts and backups in each student enrollment office
    • Admissions
    • Academic advising and orientation
    • Registrar
    • Financial aid
    • Bursar
  • Establish contacts and information about other student offices
    • Library
    • Bookstore
    • Child care
    • Parking
    • Other student services offices on campus
  • Be able to discuss all the distance programs of your university or college. Read and ask questions.
  • Let existing distance programs on your campus, particularly graduate programs, know you may be getting phone calls for them, and work out arrangements for handoffs.
  • Know how students receive class materials and tests in a timely fashion, and be able to suggest changes for improvement.
  • Suggest campus offices, faculty, and staff who should know about the Indiana College Network, and work with ICN personnel to make sure materials are sent.
  • Get to know other university or college staff working with distance students and maintain a dialogue throughout the semester. Ongoing communication improves on-campus services.
  • Recognize when the work becomes too overwhelming in light of your other duties and train other staff to work with students taking distance courses, or seek assistance from your IPSE working group member.
  • Attend meetings of the coordinators or keep up with all meeting minutes and messages. Make your voice heard to make improvements for distance students.
  • Post messages to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with class closings, cancellations, and new classes added after the ICN schedule is published.
  • Practice civility with all coordinators who seek answers on a students behalf. You may need their assistance in the future. Its wise to remember that few people know as much as you do!
  • Turn over difficult interinstitutional problems to the IHETS Learning Services coordinator for assistance.

The Learning Center coordinator on-campus will:

  • Make certain that if you are also the campus coordinator, you will have read the last section, especially the part about seeking assistance if you are overwhelmed.
  • Either know how to turn on equipment and troubleshoot technology problems or work with technology people for class support if a student comes to campus.
  • Make sure someone is always available for student assistance and support.
  • Never lock out a student from an evening class; always provide a way for students to find help.
  • Be familiar with classes that students take so that you can plan for test proctoring or unusual arrangements with class activities.
  • Get to know your IHETS receive site coordinator.
  • Work closely with your campus coordinator to keep everyone informed about your work with students.
  • Suggest improvements.
  • Attend meetings of the coordinators or keep up with all meeting minutes and messages. Make your voice heard to make improvements for distance students.
  • Post messages to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with class closings, cancellations, and new classes added after the ICN schedule is published.
  • Practice civility with all coordinators who seek answers on a students behalf. You may need their assistance in the future. Its always wise to remember that you know enough to step into the campus coordinators role!
  • Turn over difficult interinstitutional problems to the IHETS learning services coordinator for assistance.

The Learning Center coordinator off-campus will:

  • Read carefully the duties of on-campus coordinators and expect that professional level of service.
  • Read the ICN class schedule carefully and ask questions of campus coordinators or review the Web sites of special programs.
  • Gather as many publications of IHETS, the student services center, and ICPAC as you can to provide your first-time students with assistance.
  • Find resources for nontraditional students because many of your students will be new to college.
  • Work with other off-campus coordinators and the student services center audience development staff to help you develop interesting marketing ideas that will attract students.
  • Study your community for new audiences and find students who are interested in degree completion.
  • Search your community for additional resources such as community education, adult education programs, continuing education programs, retired teachers who can serve as mentors or tutors to your nontraditional students, and public library resources your students can use.
  • Be honest with new students. Dont promise them something the institutions cannot deliver. Caution students that you and your backups of other coordinators, student services center staff, and the IHETS Learning Center coordinator will do what can be done in the students best interests.
  • Dont take no the first time; always seek an answer from the campus coordinator or your backup team (see above). If a response doesnt make sense to you, keep asking for answers until you can explain the situation to the student.
  • Attend meetings of the coordinators or keep up with all meeting minutes and messages. Make your voice heard to make improvements for distance students.
  • Post messages to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with class closings, cancellations, and new classes added after the ICN schedule is published.
  • Practice civility with all coordinators who seek answers on a students behalf. You may need their assistance in the future. Its always wise to remember that you already know enough to qualify for your job!

Who can fulfill these roles?

Many coordinators have stayed with the position since it was assigned to them as part of their on-campus duties. But as the number of off-campus centers grow, its important to list the qualities needed for a good coordinator to work with distance learners and within the Indiana College Network.

A coordinator will:

  • Be an optimist.
  • Learn new information quickly and easily.
  • Adapt to changing circumstances with flexibility and a sense of humor.
  • Practice good organization and scheduling skills.
  • Advocate on the students behalf with awareness of nontraditional students complex lives and plans.
  • Advocate on the behalf of partnership institutions for students prepared for success and the integrity of college and university programs.
  • Seek answers creatively with ICN and IHETS staff help.
  • Look beyond the ICN schedule of classes for other postsecondary opportunities if necessary.
  • Know the community he or she serves and speak up for its needs.
  • Market distance programs with creativity and frugality.
  • Share.
  • Have a fund of experience in education, adult education, training, marketing, and customer service.
  • Be a can-do, high-energy, achievement-oriented representative who understands the mission.